Thursday, September 22, 2016

Charmian Carr Passes On

Charmian Carr, best known for playing Liesl Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965), died on September 17 2016 at the age of 73. The cause of death was complications from a rare form of dementia.

Charmian Carr was born on December 27 1942 in Chicago. Her mother was Vaudevillian Rita Oehmen and musician Brian Farnon. She was 10 years old when her family moved to San Fernando Valley in California. She attended San Fernando High School where she was a cheerleader and played basketball. She was  attending San Fernando Valley State College and working in a doctor's office when she was cast in The Sound of Music. She had no previous acting experience. It was director Robert Wise who suggested she change her surname to Carr.

Following The Sound of Music she starred in the pilot Take Her, She's Mine opposite Van Johnson. She also starred in a musical episode of the anthology series of ABC Stage '67,  "Evening Primrose", opposite Anthony Perkins. It featured music by Stephen Sondheim. Miss Carr married the following year and retired from show business.

She later operated an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in Encino, California. She wrote two books, Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music, published in 2000, and Letters to Liesl, published in 2001.

If you know me at all, you know that I am not a fan of The Sound of Music. I have probably fallen asleep during the movie more times than I have actually watched it in its entirety. That having been said, I think it has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack. It includes some of Rogers and Hammerstein's best work. Indeed, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", "Edelweiss", "So Long, Farewell". and "My Favourite Things" number among my favourite Rogers and Hammerstein songs. With that in mind, I have to say that Charmian Carr had a lovely voice and was a very good singer. She was perfect for the role of Liesl. While I know others have played the role (Lauri Peters originated the role on Broadway), I have a hard time seeing anyone better than  Charmian Carr was. Beyond being very talented, reportedly she was a very nice and very charming woman. She was always gracious to her fans.  Charmian Carr may not have had a very long career in show business, but she will definitely remembered for years to come.

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